Raft in the spectacular Grand Canyon

It's not only the England rugby team who like to try out extreme sports. If you'd like to follow in their footsteps in pursuit of a dramatic bungee jump, and you’d rather show off your holiday scars than holiday snaps, then our top five extreme sports locations will get your adrenaline flowing.

Rafting in the Grand Canyon, USA

Grand canyon raft pic 200Choose from a range of activities in the Grand Canyon
Creative Commons / Ribeka Kim
The awe-inspiring Grand Canyon in Arizona, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, provides one of the finest geological locations for extreme sports lovers in the USA. The gushing Colorado River has carved a winding path, creating the remarkable chasm, which runs for over 450km (280 miles) and averages a mile deep. Whether it’s climbing the sheer canyon walls or rafting the turbulent river below, adventure junkies will find something here to get their heart pumping a little faster. A white-water rafting trip will take you over invigorating rapids and offer views of the scenic landscape from a unique perspective, whilst providing an ideal adrenaline fix.

Top Tip: Choose to go on a week-long tour with rafting experts and combine it with camping under the stars in a real American adventure.

Caving in the Jenolan Caves, Australia

jenolan caves 200Explore the Jenolan Caves
Creative Commons / Karl Baron
Not all spectacular scenery lies on the Earth’s surface. There are many caves around the world below ground level offering astonishing views and equally amazing opportunities for extreme sports fans. In the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, even the journey to the Jenolan Caves is scenic. This area is home to the world’s oldest caves, and part of the network is the Mammoth Cave, aptly named as scuba divers recently descended nearly 93m (305ft) into the cave’s depths without reaching the bottom. Some chambers within the caves are extremely spacious, yet there are plenty of tight squeezes and climbs to get your heart racing during an exhilarating caving experience.

Top Tip: After being constricted for space in the caves, why not stretch your legs and enjoy the great outdoors by exploring the stunning Blue Mountains scenery, among the most breathtaking landscapes in Australia.

Skydiving over Palm Jumeirah, Dubai

Dubai Skydive 200See the amazing Palm Jumeirah from the sky
Creative Commons / Mark Dennis
Dubai’s ultra-modern transformation has seen its tourism industry prosper in recent years. Along with soaring skyscrapers, the addition of the Palm Jumeirah artificial archipelago has shown that in Dubai it’s not just natural beauty that attracts attention. Although it may be difficult to appreciate the full beauty of the spectacle from the ground, thrill-seekers can see the most amazing view of the palm-shaped structure by freefalling out of a plane directly above it. You’ll plummet towards the ground at around 220kmph (137mph) after jumping from more than 3,000m (10,000ft) – a truly memorable experience.

Top Tip: If heights get your adrenaline pumping, then head up to the observation deck on the 134th floor of the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.

Volcano bungee jump in Pucón, Chile

volcano pucon chile 200Bungee into an active volcano
Creative Commons / Martin Garrido
There are many different bungee jumps in the world, but for devotees of the sport, it's always exhilarating to try something slightly different; and jumping off the skids of a helicopter into the mouth of an active volcano certainly reaches a new level. Despite being one of the most expensive, the volcano bungee jump in Chile is the most extreme of its kind in the world. The experience offers stunning views and rare sights, as you dive from the hovering helicopter to within 140m (460ft) of bubbling, molten lava in an active volcano – something few of even the most dedicated adventure-seekers have experienced.

Top Tip: If you just can’t tear yourself away from the beautiful Villarrica volcano, then sign up to climb it and then slide down on the black sand and gravelly slopes at high speeds.

Paragliding in the Pokhara Valley, Nepal

Nepal paragliding 200Fly with the birds in Nepal
Creative Commons / Vera & Jean-Christophe
The Annapurna region in Nepal is home to the spectacular Pokhara Valley and three of the world’s highest peaks, one of which rises more than 8,000m (26,247ft). If the scenery and attractions on the ground are not appealing enough, take to the air on a paragliding flight. You’ll take off from a mountain slope at a height of nearly 1600m (5,249ft) and glide over lakes, rivers and jungles, with a unique bird’s-eye view of ancient monasteries and villages in one of the world’s most picturesque landscapes. What’s more, the sub-tropical climate also provides ideal conditions for year-round flying.

Top Tip: For an even more exclusive adventure, try ‘parahawking’. This is the same as paragliding; however, you’ll be combining it with falconry and be accompanied by a trained bird of prey.

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